Sabathia looking to end career with 2019 victory parade

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              New York Yankees starting pitcher CC Sabathia makes a statement at a news conference at the Yankees spring training baseball facility, Saturday, Feb. 16, 2019, in Tampa, Fla. Sabathia announced he will retire after the 2019 season. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
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TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — CC Sabathia can envision the perfect ending to his final big league season.

“Right now I’m just focused on trying to win the championship and have a parade at the end of the year,” Sabathia said Saturday. “That would be a great way to top this thing off.”

The 38-year-old Sabathia agreed in early November to an $8 million one-year contract and said 2019 will be his last season.

Sabathia had a stent inserted after a blockage was found in an artery from his heart in December. He has had chronic right knee problem that has required several operations.

“Why now? It’s time,” Sabathia said with a laugh. “My knee, just the shape that it’s in. My family is getting older. It’s time for me to be with them and be around them.”

When asked about his dad being home more, son Carter replied, “I know it will be two times funnier in the house because you’re funny and mom’s funny.”

Pitchers and catchers at Yankees spring training camp, and some position players taking part in early workouts were in attendance at Steinbrenner Field for Sabathia’s remarks.

“All I ever wanted for people to remember me as was just a good teammate,” Sabathia said. “It’s been a great ride. Just so many countless different memories that I’ll have. It’s priceless, it’s been great.”

Managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner and vice chairperson Jennifer Steinbrenner Swindal, who hugged Sabathia and took a photo of him and his family, were also present.

“He’s special,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. “He’s a fan favorite. He’s a (Steinbrenner) family favorite. I think CC has done everything and anything he possibly could in terms of leadership and performance.”

Hal Steinbrenner said he hasn’t given any thought about retiring Sabathia’s No. 52 because “he still has baseball to play.”

The 2007 AL Cy Young Award winner with Cleveland, Sabathia is 246-153 with a 3.70 ERA and 2,986 strikeouts in 18 major league seasons. He was 9-7 with a 3.65 ERA in 29 starts last season. This will be his 11th year with the Yankees.

“I think he’s a Hall of Famer and I think he will get in,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone, a former teammate of Sabathia said. “Eighteen years in and still a really good pitcher in this league.”

Sabathia has no interest in coaching or being a manager, but would like to return as a guest spring training instructor.

“It’s been an honor to watch him play and I’m excited to see what he’ll take on next,” Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James said in a statement. “Congrats my friend.”

As part of his farewell season, Sabathia will be hosting 52 kids from a local Boys and Girls Clubs at the first game of the final road series in all AL cities. He will also do that at the National League park in San Francisco.

SEVERINO SIGNING

Expected opening-day starter Luis Severino said his $40 million, four-year deal reached Friday to avoid an arbitration hearing came about so quickly his mother didn’t have time to come to Tampa from the Dominican Republic for a Saturday news conference.

Severino had been scheduled for a hearing in which he requested $5.25 million and the Yankees countered at $4.4 million.

“She called me and said ‘what happened, you win?'” a smiling Severino said. “I said, ‘No I didn’t win but I got $40 million. And she said ‘that’s more than $5 million.'”

Severino’s deal includes a team option for 2023 that could make the agreement worth $52.25 million for five seasons.

By agreeing to a long-term contract with a $10 million average annual value, New York raised its projected luxury tax payroll to about $225 million, well above the $206 million threshold.

“We have to manage our payroll in the present as well as the future,” Cashman said. “There’s going to be paydays coming along and we have to prepare for those. So this was an example of that.”

ELLSBURY

Cashman said outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, who didn’t play last season due to a number of injuries, will probably not be ready for opening day after experiencing plantar fasciitis during his rehab program following hip surgery.

Ellsbury has received a cortisone ejection and is not running. He won’t arrive at camp until at least mid-to-late March.

HARPER AND MACHADO

Cashman had nothing to say about free agents Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. But he added when it comes to possibly adding major or minor leaguers that the Yankees are “never a finished product” and “always open for business.”